Of all the casualties claimed by the U.S. "war on drugs" in Latin
America, perhaps none so fully captures its senselessness and
injustice as the 2001 CIA-directed killing of Christian missionary
Veronica Bowers and her daughter Charity in Peru.
No one is suggesting that the CIA intentionally killed Mrs. Bowers
and her baby. It was an accident.
But according to Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R., Mich.), it was an accident
waiting to happen because of the way in which the CIA operated the
drug interdiction plan in Peru known as the Airbridge Denial Program.
Mr. Hoekstra says the goods to prove his charge are in a classified
report from the CIA Inspector General that he received in October.
Under the program, initiated by President Clinton, the CIA was
charged with identifying small civilian aircraft suspected of
carrying cocaine over Peru on a path to Colombia, and directing the
Peruvian military to force them down.
[continues 667 words]
The Agency Lied About a 2001 Plane Downing in Peru That Killed a Woman
and Her Daughter, a Report Says.
Former Poquoson resident Gloria Luttig learned this week that her
daughter's and granddaughter's deaths were shrouded by a CIA cover-up.
"My daughter was murdered. My granddaughter was murdered," Luttig said
during a phone interview from her home in Pace, Fla., outside Pensacola.
Veronica L. "Roni" Bowers, 35, was aboard a small floatplane April 20,
2001, flying with her husband and two children from Brazil to their
houseboat on the Amazon River in Iquitos, Peru, where they lived and
worked as missionaries.
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WASHINGTON - After a secret three-year investigation, federal
prosecutors have decided to end a criminal inquiry into whether at
least four Central Intelligence Agency officers lied to lawmakers and
their agency superiors about a clandestine antidrug operation that
ended in 2001 with the fatal downing of a plane carrying American
missionaries, Justice Department officials said this week.
"The Justice Department has declined a criminal prosecution," said
Bryan Sierra, a Justice Department spokesman, in response to a
question about the previously undisclosed investigation. The conduct
under scrutiny was part of a C.I.A. operation authorized by President
Bill Clinton beginning in 1994 to help the Peruvian Air Force to
interfere with drug flights over the country.
[continues 1092 words]
Criminal Probe Dropped In Downing Of Peru Plane
Gloria and John Luttig had no idea that federal prosecutors had been
investigating a clandestine Central Intelligence Agency operation that
was shut down after a Peruvian Air Force jet fired on a small
propeller airplane, killing the Luttigs' missionary daughter and their
The Luttigs, who live in Pace, reacted with frustration and anger to
the revelation Sunday that the Justice Department last week dropped a
criminal inquiry into whether four CIA officers lied to lawmakers and
their superiors about a program that involved CIA surveillance
airplanes helping the Peruvian Air Force intercept drug smugglers.
[continues 623 words]
Brazil is close to adopting a plan to shoot down aircraft suspected of
carrying narcotics over the Amazon jungle, the government has said.
Colombia and Peru called a halt to the controversial practice in 2001
after the Peruvian air force mistakenly shot down a plane carrying
But experts say cocaine smugglers are violating Brazilian airspace to
reach regional cities and markets abroad.
Brasilia and Washington may share information to combat drug
Series of safeguards
"It is the kind of measure one hopes never to have to enforce," said
Defence Minister Jose Viegas, according to the O Globo news website.
[continues 305 words]
Bill Masters Is No Dope.
So What Turned Him Against the War on Drugs?
In the big city, the search would take him down mean streets, to a ratty
duplex or a motel bathroom or some tweaker's garage. But the resort town of
Telluride has no mean streets, and the rest of San Miguel County, where
Masters has been sheriff for the past 25 years, has almost no streets at all.
But that doesn't mean that this sinfully scenic county is a drug-free zone.
Dope is everywhere, if you want to go hunting for it. On this particular
morning in early May, Masters has solid intelligence about a suspected
methamphetamine operation tucked deep in the woods, and he wants to eyeball
the place himself before sending any of his deputies into harm's way. So he
slips behind the wheel of a 1995 white Bronco -- the oldest vehicle in his
agency's fleet -- and heads for the high country.
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Herbicides Will Be Last Resort Inside Nature Reserves
BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) -- Faced with an outcry from environmentalists,
the Colombian government suspended plans to use spray planes to
fumigate drug crops in the country's spectacular nature reserves.
Environment Minister Sandra Suarez said Wednesday that authorities
will instead try to destroy coca and opium fields in national parks by
hand, and only if the effort fails will they consider resorting to
The decision comes after environmental groups warned that aerial
fumigation could cause irreparable damage to Colombia's scenic treasures.
[continues 331 words]
After a two-year break, sparked by the reckless killing of an American
missionary and her infant daughter, the U.S. government has resumed
its support for Colombia's policy of shooting down suspected drug
planes. The barbarity of conspiring with foreign military officers to
act as judge, jury and executioner is as indefensible now - legally,
morally and practically - as it was when Peru, with U.S. assistance,
shot Veronica Bowers and her 7-month-old daughter, Charity, from the
[continues 304 words]
WASHINGTON -- Ronald Reagan is generally recognized as the original
"Teflon president." No matter what went wrong during his two-term
presidency in the '80s, whether outside his control or not, he
remained popular -- no allegation or bad news seemed to stick to him,
as if he were treated with a non-stick coating.
In Latin America, where growing disaffection toward democracy is
further eroding public confidence in politicians, a new kind of Teflon
presidency has emerged. Today, it is best personified by President
Alejandro Toledo of Peru, but with a somewhat cruel twist: For Toledo,
not even the best of news sticks.
[continues 715 words]
An American Baptist missionary and her infant daughter were killed 2
1/2 years ago when a Peruvian air force pilot shot down a small plane
- -- even after U.S. intelligence monitors expressed doubts that the
craft might not be used by drug-runners, as first suspected.
That led to a suspension of such flights in Peru and Colombia and an
admonition by a Senate committee that they not resume until strict
safeguards were in place to avoid a tragic recurrence. At the time,
the committee recommended the shoot-down policy be reconsidered.
That's still good advice.
[continues 203 words]
Drug Interdiction Should Avoid Deadly Force
An American Baptist missionary and her infant daughter were killed 2 1/2
years ago when a Peruvian air force pilot shot down a small plane -- even
after U.S. intelligence monitors expressed doubts that the craft might not
be engaged in drug-running, as first suspected. That led to a suspension of
such flights, in Peru and in Colombia, and an admonition by a Senate
committee that they not resume until strict safeguards were in place to
avoid a tragic recurrence, and even then that the shoot-down policy be
reconsidered. That's still good advice. But now Secretary of Defense Donald
Rumsfeld says the Bush administration supports a Colombian plan to resume
drug interdiction flights employing deadly force, and the New York Times
quotes officials as saying a resumption is also likely in Peru.
[continues 191 words]
American Aid Has Produced Some Results In Colombia. That Is One Reason Why
It Is Turning Into A Long-Term Commitment
Bogota - It is not quite Afghanistan, but outside that country and the
Middle East, it is the American's most expensive foreign entanglement.
Since 2000, under an aid programme known as "Plan Colombia", the United
States has pumped in some $2.4 billion in military and economic aid, aimed
at fighting drugs and the rebel armies that feed upon them. Under Alvaro
Uribe, a stern Liberal who took office as Colombia's president a year ago,
this aid has started to show results.
[continues 992 words]
THE POINT - Why Shouldn't Our Individual Liberties Be The
The U.S. government recently approved a return to anti-drug flights
over Colombia. Those flights were suspended two years ago after a
Peruvian fighter mistakenly shot down a plane, killing missionary
Veronica Bowers and her infant daughter.
The mistake was blamed on a breakdown in procedures and a lack of
communication between U.S. operatives and the Peruvian air force.
Those problems have been solved, according to government sources in
the United States. However, the flights will not resume over Peru, due
to a lack of planes and radar in that South American country.
[continues 707 words]
BOGOTA - In less than two days, the United States will start helping the
Colombian Air Force to force down planes suspected of flying drugs and
weapons, using a new safety checklist designed to prevent deadly mishaps,
officials from both countries said Wednesday.
The program in which U.S. government contractors assisted the Colombian and
Peruvian air forces to track and force or shoot down suspect planes was
suspended April 2001 after the Peruvian jet shot down a missionary flight
mistaken for a drug smuggling plane. A Michigan woman and her infant
daughter were killed, revealing a series of sloppy procedures that caused
[continues 523 words]
Rumsfeld Sees 'Progress' By The Military
BOGOTA - U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld Tuesday joined the
parade of top U.S. officials visiting Colombia to show support for
President Alvaro Uribe and the security forces' progress in their war
against drugs and guerrillas.
''We admire and respect the progress being made and the determination being
shown,'' Rumsfeld told reporters at a news conference.
Rumsfeld also announced that a U.S.-backed program to interdict airplanes
carrying drugs and weapons would resume ''within hours or a few days,'' 29
months after it was suspended following the mistaken shoot-down of an
American missionary's plane in Peru. President George W. Bush ordered it
resumed, following a safety study aimed at preventing future mishaps.
[continues 562 words]
The U.S. government has approved a return to anti-drug flights over
Colombia. Those flights were suspended two years ago after a Peruvian
fighter mistakenly shot down a plane, killing missionary Veronica Bowers
and her infant daughter.
The mistake was blamed on a breakdown in procedures and a lack of
communication between U.S. operatives and the Peruvian air force. Those
problems have been solved, according to government sources in the United
States. However, the flights will not resume over Peru because of a lack of
planes and radar in that South American country.
[continues 708 words]
[Monday, 4 August]
DOBBS: Tonight, we begin a series of special reports this week on the war
on drugs. We call it "The Forgotten War." It's a war that costs American
taxpayers $12 billion a year to stop the flow of drugs into this country.
Lisa Sylvester reports.
LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After 30 years of fighting
the drug war, U.S. law enforcement officials have been changing their
approach. Instead of simply looking at the drug war based on supply and
demand, they now look at it as a business, attacking growers, shippers,
wholesalers, and retailers.
[continues 6734 words]
WASHINGTON - Secretary of State Colin Powell has approved the
resumption of U.S. surveillance flights over Colombia, which then
guide Colombian air force jets to drug planes that can be shot down,
after a two-year suspension imposed when a plane carrying American
missionaries was mistakenly shot down, a U.S. official said Tuesday.
The official said the White House is expected to announce the
resumption of the drug surveillance flights Thursday, when President
Alvaro Uribe observes his first anniversary in office.
[continues 253 words]
WASHINGTON - President Bush is expected to approve the resumption of
anti-drug surveillance flights in Colombia that result in the forcible
grounding or destruction of planes suspected of smuggling narcotics,
officials said Tuesday.
This so called shoot-down policy in Colombia and Peru was suspended
two years ago after a small plane flying over Peru was identified as
suspicious and later shot down. An American missionary, Veronica
Bowers, and her infant daughter, Charity, were killed in the crash.
An inquiry by U.S. and Peruvian officials found that a disastrous
series of mistakes, aggravated by language problems and procedural
shortcuts, had caused the incident. Since then the Bush
administration, which provides intelligence to those tracking the
flights, has negotiated with Peru and Colombia to impose safeguards.
[continues 163 words]
DOBBS: This week, we are reporting on "The Forgotten War," the war
Secretary of State Colin Powell has recommended that the United States
resume its backing of anti-drug flights over Colombia. Reuters quotes
unnamed administration officials who say President Bush is likely to
approve the recommendation.
Those flights were halted two years ago after an aircraft carrying a
U.S. missionary was shot down in Peru. It had been mistaken for a drug
Last night here, we reported on efforts to control the international
supply of drugs before they enter this country. Tonight, we report on
what's being done to stop drugs produced in this country as we
continue our series of special reports, "The Forgotten War."
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